Insight on the News
Importance of Apparel
● “U.S. News & World Report” magazine recently published comments on the value of proper apparel, based on an interview with business consultant John T. Molloy. “What I have found,” he said, “is that the way you dress can move you up socially and in business, or it can hold you back. . . . it can make a man or woman more effective and more successful.”
Could this affect how Christians might be viewed by strangers as they engage in sharing their faith with others? Very likely. Molloy states: “I have evidence to prove, too, that people make moral judgments of other persons based on how they are dressed.” He also notes that “what you wear immediately establishes your authority, credibility and likeability.”
What about keeping in the forefront of style? “Don’t buy any fashion item until it has been on the market for at least six months,” he warns. “If you’re a leader in fashion, you’re likely to be a follower in almost everything else.”
Certainly such observations illustrate the practical value of the Bible’s recommendation to women, and, in principle, to men, that they “dress in becoming manner, modestly and soberly.”—1 Tim. 2:9, “The New English Bible.”
● After the murder/suicides of over 900 religious cult members in Jonestown, Guyana, a number of news columnists spoke out against violence in the name of God. In disgust, “Seattle Times” staff columnist John Hinterberger declared: “Our world, these past few years, has choked on fervor and piety. We are literally killing each other off in the name of God . . . In the name of God, Lebanese, Syrians and Jews periodically butcher select quadrants of Lebanon. In God’s name, Christians of Northern Ireland sporadically explode each other’s children.”
But do the religionists who get involved in such bloodshed truly represent God? Or are they the dupes of religious leaders always ready to justify violence at the drop of a nationalistic or political hat? True worshipers of God refuse to be drawn into such violence. For example, the sociological study “More About Justifying Violence: Methodological Studies of Attitudes and Behavior” states:
“Since the turn of the century, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have consistently maintained their stand of nonviolent ‘Christian Neutrality’ through two major world wars and the subsequent military clashes of the ‘Cold War’ period. Their continuing stand against national service of any form, military or civilian, and their refusal to honor symbols of national identity have resulted in periods of prosecution, imprisonment, and mob action in many countries throughout the world, including the United States, Canada and Germany. The Witnesses, however, have never responded with violence. . . . The teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses stem from their conviction that the Bible is the inspired word of God.”—University of Michigan Press, p. 23.
● Early in his reign, the new pope, John Paul II, reaffirmed the setting apart of priests and nuns from other church members by means of distinctive garb. Speaking to 1,300 priests in Rome, he said: “We must retain the sense of our unique vocation and this uniqueness must be expressed also in our exterior clothing.” During an address to 600 mother superiors at the Vatican, he also urged nuns to wear “simple and apt” habits.
Does this distinctive separation of Christians by their dress reflect the spirit of Christ? Jesus himself spoke about the religious leaders of his time who wanted to set themselves apart from their flocks by means of unusual dress. As expressed in the “Catholic Confraternity” version of the Bible, He said: “All their works they do in order to be seen by men; for they widen their phylacteries, and enlarge their tassels.” Then concerning the relationship that should prevail among all Christians, Jesus goes on to say: “One is your Master, and all you are brothers. And call no one on earth your father; for one is your Father, who is in heaven.”—Matt. 23:5, 8, 9.